As expected the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps was a frustrating race for the Ferrari, which had to chase their rivals right from qualifying.
During the race, the Maranello teams had to focus almost exclusively on holding on to what they had, unable to attack because of the of the Balance of Power configuration set for the 488 GTE in 2018. In the GTE-Pro class, Alessandro Pier Guidi in car #51 and Davide Rigon in #71 managed to keep their starting position, holding off the other cars on the straights, despite the low top speed set by the BoP.
In the end, the problems experienced by the #91 Porsche allowed Sam Bird and Rigon to snatch a well-deserved podium.
Antonello Coletta, head of the Ferrari GT program concluded, “The result of the first WEC Super Season race leaves us perplexed.
“Our drivers were satisfied with the 488 GTE, and every analysis tells us that we should be happy with the work we have done with our cars because from last year to this we have significantly improved our performance on this track.
“In all this, however, we find ourselves competing against rivals who are over a second per lap faster, and who therefore improved their performance exponentially”.
The #51 488 GTE was involved in a pitlane accident, compromising the car for the race. It was also an uphill struggle in the GTE-Am class, which saw the Ferrari cars stage a great comeback. Having started right at the back of the pack, all the 488 GTEs managed to gain ground.
Matt Griffin, Weng Sun Mok and Keita Sawa stood out for Clearwater Racing as they fought back to third behind the Aston Martins driven by Dalla Lana-Lamy-Lauda and Yoluc-Alers-Hankey-Eastwood.
The rookies of MR Racing secured an excellent fifth place, with Motoaki Ishikawa, Eddie Cheever III and Olivier Beretta.
The Spirit of Race team also did well but paid a high price with a stop-and-go for speeding in the pitlane. Thomas Flohr, Giancarlo Fisichella and Francesco Castellacci finished eighth.
A frustrated Coletta continued, “Ferrari cars were only competitive at the end of the stints when they managed their tires better than their rivals, but this, in my opinion, is not enough.
“We are not asking for anything special, we want to be competitive, to try to defend the world title displayed on our windshields and that’s what we felt didn’t happen during the Spa-Francorchamps weekend.
“Having said that a big well-done should go to Sam Bird and especially to Davide Rigon whose sheer grit helped secure an unexpected podium. Congratulations also go to Clearwater Racing for third place in GTE-Am and to MR Racing for fifth on its debut”.